Interest Rate Could Double on Some Student Loans

Tim Goral's picture
Tuesday, March 13, 2012

College would get costlier for millions of low- and middle-income student loan recipients starting next fall, unless Congress intervenes.

The fixed interest rate on Stafford federal subsidized loans, held by nearly 8 million undergraduates, is set to double on July 1, a few months before the start of the new school year.

President Barack Obama has asked Congress to block the rate hike for current and future Stafford loan recipients, but legislation aimed at keeping it permanently at 3.4 percent has stalled in Congress.

Obama's fiscal 2013 budget would freeze the interest rate at 3.4 percent for a year.

"We're saying to Congress, now is not the time to make school more expensive for young people," Obama said last month when he unveiled the budget. "And they can act right now to make that change."

Advocates aren't sure if there's enough support in Congress to prevent the interest rate from doubling to 6.8 percent.

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